Internships and Independent Study

An Agricultural and Extension Education internship is a cooperative educational program between Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and approved employers (called cooperating agencies) who furnish facilities and instruction where students may acquire the competencies and knowledge needed for careers in Agricultural and Extension Education.

Handbook : External internships for development in the AEE profession


AEE 495 Internship (1-13 credits).  Supervised field experience related to agriculture. Written and oral critique of activity required. A minimum of one 40-hour week of field experience is expected for each credit granted. However, other arrangements are possible with permission of the cooperating agency and the internship coordinator.

AEE 496 Independent Study. To earn credit for an independent study, students must consult with a Ag Extension Education (AEE) instructor and complete the following form:


  • To provide an opportunity for an off-campus learning experience relevant to the student's Ag Education program.
  • To permit students to explore careers in the agriculture industry.
  • To enable students to gain occupational competencies useful in teaching agricultural education.


This course is an elective available to all students with a grade point average of 2.00 or higher interested in seeking certification for teaching agricultural or environmental education and will be offered each semester and during the summer.

Placement Procedures

  • Students seeking internship experiences are to complete a course application form stating the kind of internship desired and their preference for geographic location or actual cooperating agency. The internship coordinator maintains a "List of Approved AEE 395 Sites." Students are encouraged to utilize this list in their selection because these cooperating agencies are capable of offering quality internship experiences.
  • No later than one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the internship is to be taken, the student must arrange an interview with a representative of the cooperating agency. The internship coordinator and the agency representative must determine whether an available position will provide an experience which will support the student's interests and academic preparation will satisfy the demands of the cooperating agency.
  • On approval of the agency representative, and with the work description or schedule of anticipated activities, the student will submit the "Plan for Internship" to the office of the internship coordinator, 319 Agricultural Administration Building. At that time, the internship agreement will be completed.

Responsibilities of the Principal Participants

The Student

Assisted by the student's adviser and/or the internship instructor, the student may seek placement opportunities for internship experiences. Interviews must be arranged by the student with representatives of cooperating agencies. On approval of an employer, and with a work description or schedule of anticipated activities, the student develops a plan for internship. A signed copy of this plan must be submitted to the AEE 395 instructor before the student begins employment.

While participating in the internship, the student is expected to:

  • Complete the tasks and activities outlined in the plan for internship
  • Conform with the normal work hours of the cooperating firm or volunteer agency including overtime when requested
  • Cooperate with the cooperating agency, its other employees, and the internship instructor regarding completion of assigned responsibilities
  • Request permission from the employer for leave periods
  • Submit mid-term and final reports (Appendix C) at a time mutually agreed upon with the internship coordinator

The Internship Coordinator

The coordinator assists students in developing the plan for internship and reviews this plan to determine if the internship:

  • Includes adequate and appropriate experience for the career goals of the student requesting the internship
  • Involves initiative, creative opportunities, meaningful responsibilities, and assignments in contrast to routine or continuously repetitive activities
  • Includes adequate supervision


The internship coordinator, the student, and a cooperating agency representative collaborate in the processing of the internship agreement. At the end of each semester, the internship coordinator determines and enters the final grades for the AEE 395 internship. The final grade is calculated by the coordinator using the following criteria:

15% Internship plan
25% Mid-term report
35% Final report
25% Cooperative agency representative final evaluation

Cooperating Agency Representative

A representative of the agency approved to conduct the intern interviews the potential candidate prior to enrolling for the course. The agency is asked to provide a work description or schedule of the intern's anticipated activities, experiences and responsibilities during the entire internship period. The final approval for registration is made by the internship coordinator.

When the cooperating agency selects a participant for the internship program, it is expected to provide a variety of experiences for the intern plus a program sufficiently flexible to permit intern involvement on specific projects. The agency assigns responsibility for supervision of the intern to a specific individual and regular reviews of the intern's performance are expected. The agency representative collaborates with the intern in the preparation and submission of mid-term and final reports to the intern's coordinator. Further, the agency representative completes an evaluation form in which the student's performance is rated. The form is forwarded to the student's coordinator. The cooperating agency may provide wages, reimbursement for travel, and other needs while the student is on the internship. These arrangements are to be agreed upon by the cooperating agency and the student. The cooperating agency agrees to provide the student with any specialized training required.

Please visit the college's internship website for possible opportunities.

TIP: Impressing an employer through an internship is a very successful strategy!